Suspension Bridge at Sheesh Mahal, Patiala : I was in Punjab to attend my college friend's wedding. I took one of my work colleagues with me. Since she was from Tamil nadu we thought of taking her to small tour. The first destination in our list was the suspension bridge at sheesh mahal in Patiala. This beautiful palace was built by Maharaja of Patiala, Narendra Singh.
Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya, Bhopal : Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya Bhopal is one of those popular attractions that never cease to impress. I only had around 30 minutes to check out this place as I reached there just in time for closing. Also known as National Museum of Mankind, it shows the lifestyle of various tribal communities. The museum is necessary visit!
Shaukat Mahal & Sadar Manzil : Hi folks! This is just a frontal view of the classic Shaukat Mahal and Sadar Manzil. This is one of the most outlandish structures I have come across in recent times. Interestingly, it is a perfect blend of exquisite post-renaissance and gothic style architecture that has lent a unique character to this fantastic creation. Its more beautiful in reality.
Slowly we had reached the fifth day of our lovely stay in Bhopal. Each new day, the city unfolded few of its best features and we were falling in love with almost each and every part of it. We would roam the whole day and retire back to our hotel with a contented heart and blissful mind. It was the day to pay a visit to the Bharat Bhawan in Bhopal. Bharat Bhawan is known to be a museum established by the Government of the State. The museum was inaugurated by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in the year 1982 on 13th of February. There is correlative connection between the different forms of art, like visual, verbal and other performing arts.
Bharat Bhavan faces the Upper Lake in Bhopal and hence there is beautiful scenery to one side of the museum. Classical music, folk music, dance forms, literature, library, folk and contemporary art form are all amalgamated within the museum to bring out the display of the best features of Madhya Pradesh. The museum is well maintained by the Government of Madhya Pradesh and is often filled with different kinds of people who come from abroad and from within the state.
There is terrace garden on the top floor of the museum. Moreover the visitors enter through the highest level and walk down the lane to cover most parts of the building. Each and every part of the museum is independent of the other but still there is some missing link among them. I was totally surprised with the construction of the building and being a Masters in Architecture, I was looking deep into the things to discover it.
There are several contemporary shops and outlets within the museum from where souvenirs can be bought for friends and family. The café and art gallery within the museum is also worth taking a look. There is the cultural center in the museum which is one of the finest places in the museum. I was trying to click as many pictures as I could in my camera but there were few places where camera was not allowed. However whatever I clicked will serve the purpose of a good memory and flashback of the time spent in Bharat Bhawan.
Gohar Mahal,Bhopal : After having checked out all possible lakes and other attractions in the city, I happened to stumble upon this marvellous ancient structure called Gohar Mahal. Its built is dated back to centuries ago, though; Gohar Mahal Bhopal outshines other iconic sites as well. It was a bit overcrowded but I managed to get a few snaps of the exteriors, here’s one.
From the Desert National Park we moved towards our next destination which was the Umaid Bhawan Palace Jodhpur. It was one of the most famous private residences in the world. The palace was then under the control of the owners of the Taj hotels and resorts and a hot favourite spot for many weddings and reception parties. We knew that many rich businessmen and honchos from different parts of India used that place for organizing functions and celebrating various events at different times of the year. When we had visited the place, the palace was hosting a marriage ceremony arranged by some rich family. We were seriously enthralled by the sheer beauty of the palace.
It was named after Maharaja Umaid Singh who was the grandfather of the present owner of the Palace. The speciality of the monument was that it had 347 rooms and served as the residence for the royal family of Jodhpur. The palace was also famous for the Chittar Palace mainly because of the stones that were used to construct the building. We learnt that the construction of the building had started in the year 1929 and was completed around 1943. The palace had provided employment to thousands of local residents who were hit by the famine in that period.
The owner of the palace at that time was Maharaja Gaj Singh. At the time when we had visited, the place was divided into three parts. While one part was used as the Taj hotels, the second and third parts were used for the residence for the royal family and the museum which focused on the history of the Jodhpur Royal dynasty. We heard that the museum opened at around 9 am and visitors could enter it until 5 in the evening.
Many tourists and foreigners had also visited the place that day. There was also a gallery which showed all the famous exotic cars that were once owned by the royals. Since we had entered the Umaid Bhawan Palace Jodhpur in the evening, it looked tremendously beautiful while basking in the beautiful rays of the sun.
After having a great time at the fort of Jaisalmer, we headed towards the Desert National Park, which was situated in the outskirts of Jaisalmer. The park was one of the largest national parks in India and covered an area of 3162 square kilometres. The national park was the perfect replica of the varied ecosystem present in India. The famous Thar Desert was close and we could feel the heat easily. We learnt that sand dunes from the desert surrounded the park nearly 20 percent of the time. The main landforms consisted of rocks, salt bottoms and few fixed dunes which were good enough. Though the surroundings were hot, the wide range of birds mesmerized us.
The region was full of different kinds of birds like eagles, harriers, kestrels and vultures. There were also some sand grouses that were spotted in the ponds and lakes which were near the park. This place was one of the favourite picnic spots for the local people and capable of drawing plenty of tourists every year.
The national park was rich in flora and fauna. Some commonly found plants included palm trees, dhok and ronj. Some of the animals that could be spotted inside the park inlcuded desert cat, chinkara, fox and black buck. The reptiles found were Russel viper, lizards which were accompanied by few other species which were unknown to us. I captured the images of all the interesting animals and birds that could be viewed by us.
We were so mesmerized in the charm of the place that we didn’t realize we had forgotten to take our lunch. All of us were extremely hungry and we went to a restaurant for consuming the traditional Rajasthani dishes. We knew that the traditional meals were prepared using different kinds of spices and all of them impressed me as I was a big lover of tasty dishes.
We knew that we could visit a few more attractive places around the national park which constituted the famous Gadsisar Lake and the sand dunes which were the trademark of Rajasthan. We left the place with a great impression about the rare animals which we saw in the Desert national park.
After spending unforgettable time in the sanctuary, we reached the famous Deshnok temple, Bikaner which was also known as the Karni Mata Temple. We knew that the temple was famous for black rats of different sizes that had filled each and every corner in the temple compound.
The temple was named after the place and built between the 15th and 20th century by the then ruler of Rajasthan, Maharaja Ganga Singh. The basic design of the temple followed the style of the Mughals and the Rajputs.
The temple was situated at a distance of 30 kilometres from Bikaner and was famous for black rats of various types. It was believed that around 20,000 odd rats had made it their home. We thanked the local people that they did not dare to push the rats out of the temple. The rats were considered to be holy and were known as the kabbas. We learnt that many people had travelled long distances to pay their respect to these rats. The local people informed that many people from different parts of the world visited the temple sometimes in order to see such a huge number of rats living together at a single place.
The designs inscribed on the walls of the temple were superb and were one of the major attractions of the place. The marble facade and silver doors, which were built by Maharaja Ganga Singh, depicted the high quality of the architecture that was used at the time of construction. We learnt that it was only a few years back that the government had taken the initiative and renovated the temple as they realized that it was the centre of attraction for many nationals as well as international tourists. Some white rats, which were believed to be the sons of Karni Mata, were also present inside the temple. We saw many people offering food to those holy rats.
The Deshnok temple, Bikaner held an important position in the hearts of the Indians, especially those living in the west. We saw a large number of followers who had visited the temple that day in order to show their respect to the goddess and the rats.
Nathmalji Ki Haveli Jaisalmer : Nathmalji ki haveli is amongst the most visited places in Jaisalmer. This palace was built for Diwan Mohata Nathmal. The fort is a perfect example of Rajasthani architecture. The designs engraved in the forts are depicts the story and culture of Rajasthan. Hence, it is the must visit destination in jaisalmer.
From the Junagarh Fort we reached the Lalgarh Palace, Bikaner, which was built by Sir Ganga Singh Maharaja. The palace was built in the period between the years 1902 and 1926 and the building was a masterpiece in terms of architecture. The sculptures and designs inside the building impressed us a lot. The main attraction of the structure was that it was built in the Indo- Saracenic style which made it extremely amazing innovative. The architecture was quite similar to a style which belonged to that of the Europeans, Mughals and the Rajputs. Though the main Palace was in Junagarh, the then Maharaja decided to build a palace in memory of his father Maharaja Lal Singh. That had resulted in the establishment of the Lalgarh Palace. Presently a portion of the palace was a hotel and run by a trust which was under Rajyashree Kumari, the princess at that time.
The entire plan of the building was made by a British designer named Samuel Swinton Jacob. Initially the palace was planned to be built within 1 million rupees in the Indian currency but later on, all the cost cutting measures were removed out of the plan. Approximately 1 million rupees was spent for the establishment of the first wing only. The building was designed with finely carved stones and all the finest materials in the world.
It was due to these factors that led to the high cost of the building. The three storey building was covered with red sandstone which was specially extracted from the Thar Desert. The palace had a sufficient number of complexes which consisted of drawing rooms, massive halls, dining rooms, smoking rooms and many more. The Darbar Hall had an interior swimming pool and each and every building was carefully maintained. Some of them were specially hired for wedding functions and other parties.
The Lalgarh Palace, Bikaner was the perfect example of extremely well-designed buildings for which India was famous. The amazingly constructed building stood tall on a massive base. The palace was open for visitors and we were accompanied by many foreign travellers as well.
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A big hello to everyone here... I am 'the' Geeta Sharma, a young, vibrant, and fun-loving girl from Agra. As a kid, tall buildings always inspired me and now as I type, I myself have attained a master’s degree in Architecture and am working on several projects in and around my city. Whenever I feel taxed of my job, I find a way out in the nature, my second habitat for obvious reasons! Meditation, camping, and photography are activities for which Mother Nature inspires me! On my way back, I also make it a point to get my mind and body relaxed at nearby spa centres. That is about me and you will find much more in detail with regular blogs and updates from me. So stay tuned and sit tight for new experiences every day!